List of surviving Avro Lancasters

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List of surviving Avro Lancasters
Lancaster VR-A.jpg
The Lancaster Mk X FM213 of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum painted as "VR-A" and called the "Mynarski Memorial" Lancaster

The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined heavy bomber used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries during the Second World War. There are 17 known largely complete Avro Lancasters remaining in the world, but only two are airworthy.

Australia[edit]

Lancaster B I W4783 G for George
On display
  • Lancaster B I W4783 "G-George" was operated by No. 460 Squadron RAAF and completed 90 sorties. It was flown to Australia during the war for fundraising purposes, and was assigned the Australian serial A66-2. The aircraft was later placed on display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, and underwent a thorough restoration between 1999 and 2003.

Canada[edit]

Canada is home to most of the surviving Lancaster aircraft and home to one of two airworthy aircraft. One additional aircraft is undergoing restoration to airworthiness.

Airworthy
Lancaster FM213, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
  • Lancaster B X FM213 which was retired from active duty with the RCAF (served with Search and Rescue operations under Maritime Air Command) on 6 November 1963, displayed in Goderich, Ontario from 1964 to 1977 then stored at Dunnville, Ontario. FM213 had 4,392.3 hours on the airframe when it was handed over. It would probably have been sold for scrap metal except for the intervention of The Royal Canadian Legion in Goderich.[2]
The aircraft was acquired by Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in 1978, underwent a 10-year restoration, and has remained airworthy since 1988. The aircraft is flown in the paint scheme of KB726 VR-A, depicting an aircraft of No. 419 Squadron RCAF, and is known as the "Mynarski Memorial Lancaster" in honour of Canadian VC recipient Andrew Mynarski.[2] FM213 is due to depart Hamilton, Ontario on 4 August 2014, to take part in a series of events in formation with the world's only other airworthy Lancaster, PA474 during August. The North Atlantic crossing will include en-route stops at Goose Bay Canada, Narsarsuaq Greenland, and Keflavik Iceland before arriving at RAF Coningsby, home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.[3]
On display
  • Lancaster B X FM159 was built in Canada and arrived in Europe after the fighting ended and never saw combat. After returning to Canada and being placed in storage, it served from 1953 to 1955 with the No. 103 Search and Rescue Unit in Greenwood, Nova Scotia before being transferred to Comox, British Columbia to serve as a maritime and ice patrol aircraft. It was withdrawn from RCAF service in 1958 and purchased in 1960 by a trio of men from Nanton, Alberta with a view to building a war museum in their town. The aircraft is currently on display at the Nanton, Alberta, Bomber Command Museum of Canada. It is known as "The Bazalgette Memorial Lancaster" in honour of Ian Willoughby Bazalgette VC of No. 635 Squadron RAF. In 2013 FM 159 was able to ground run all four Merlin engines for the first time in 54 years,[4] and in April 2014 was able to taxi under its own power.[citation needed] Work continues to restore the interior and exterior.
  • Lancaster Mk 10AR KB839 was built by Victory Aircraft and delivered to No. 419 Squadron RCAF in January 1945. The aircraft completed 26 sorties, wearing the code letters VR-D. It was twice damaged by German anti-aircraft fire. It returned to Canada after the end of the war in Europe, initially for service against Japan, but was modified after the war to Mk 10AR Arctic Reconnaissance specification. After being struck off charge in 1963, the aircraft was preserved at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia. It has received several restorations and is now displayed outside at the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum.[5]
  • Lancaster Mk 10DC KB848 (forward fuselage only) was built by Victory Aircraft and delivered to No. 428 Squadron RCAF in January 1945. Returned to Canada in May 1945, the aircraft was later modified as a drone carrier. The cockpit section survives and is on display at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa.
  • Lancaster Mk 10P KB882 was built by Victory Aircraft in 1945 and delivered to Britain, the aircraft joined No. 428 Squadron RCAF in March of that year. Flown on six operational sorties over Germany, the aircraft was returned to Canada in June 1945 and entered storage. In 1952, the aircraft was modified to Mk 10P configuration and flew with No. 408 Squadron RCAF. In 1964, the aircraft was purchased by the City of Edmundston, New Brunswick and has since been on outside display at the Municipal Airport. As of 2014, this aircraft is in urgent need of repair.[6]
The nose of Lancaster B X KB944. Note the authentic matt paint finish as used on wartime aircraft. On airworthy aircraft a modern semi-gloss paint is often applied instead as this requires less cleaning and is more durable than the original matt surface
  • Lancaster B X KB944 was built in Canada in 1945 by Victory Aircraft. Later that year, after briefly serving overseas, it was put into stored reserve in Canada where it went on to spend most of the following years, except for a brief period in 1952 serving with 404 Maritime Patrol Squadron at Greenwood, Nova Scotia. In 1964, the RCAF refurbished this aircraft and placed it in the Armed Force's historical aircraft collection where it is now on display in the Canada Aviation Museum.
  • Lancaster B X FM136 manufactured in 1945 by Victory Aircraft, assigned to No. 20 and 30 Maintenance Units in England, never issued to active squadron. Returned to Canada and converted to Maritime Reconnaissance. Taken on strength by No.404 "Buffalo" (MP) Squadron (Greenwood, Nova Scotia)[7] as RX-136. Transferred to No.407 ‘Demon’ (MP) Squadron (Comox, BC).[8] Struck off strength April 1961. Lancaster FM136 was purchased from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation by Lynn Garrison, in 1961. He created The Lancaster Memorial Fund to see the aircraft displayed, in 1962, on a pedestal at McCall Field, Calgary, as a memorial to those who trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. It was subsequently moved to Aerospace Museum of Calgary[9] in 1992. A new shelter was built for it in 2007.
Stored or under restoration
  • Lancaster B X FM104 was donated to the city of Toronto in 1964 and placed on a pedestal on Lakeshore Drive. After sitting outside for 36 years, the aircraft was removed from the pedestal and placed on loan to the Canadian Air & Space Museum,[10] in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The aircraft is now under long-term restoration to static display condition. With spare parts from the remainder of FM118, it is planned to be complete as a museum quality piece in 2015.
  • Lancaster Mk 10P FM212 was withdrawn from RCAF service in 1962 and placed in storage. The city of Windsor, Ontario purchased the aircraft for use as a memorial and mounted it on a pedestal in Jackson Park in 1965. It was damaged by weather and poor maintenance and replaced by Spitfire and Hurricane replicas on 26 May 2005. Currently being restored by the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association, this Lancaster has been renamed "Bad Penny" to commemorate the first RAF Avro Lancaster into Holland during Operation Manna to save the Dutch from starvation in the closing days of World War II, 29 April 1945.[11] On 29 April 2007 (to coincide with the 62nd anniversary of Operation Manna), FM212 was removed from storage in Jackson Park and towed to the Sears parking lot of Devonshire Mall where it was on display and open for tours through the aircraft. On 13 May 2007, FM212 was towed from Devonshire Mall to Windsor Airport where it is on display and undergoing extensive restoration to return the aircraft back to a airworthy status over the next few years.[12]
Substantial wrecks
  • Lancaster B X FM221 Crashed on take off at Resolute Bay, North West Territories, in 1950. Wreckage remains in situ but has severely deteriorated due to a combination of extreme weather, souvenir hunters and bulldozing of the wreckage after the crash.
  • Lancaster B X KB999 Ditched in a glacial lake near Nunavut in the North West Territories following an engine fire in 1952. Wreck remains in situ but has been broken up by ice action.

France[edit]

Stored or under restoration
  • Lancaster B VII 'NX664' served with the Aeronavale as WU-21 from 1952 until it suffered a heavy landing at Wallis Island.It was recovered in 1984 to Le Bourget and has been under restoration since.

Germany[edit]

On display
  • Lancaster B III JA914 Served with 57 Squadron as DX-O. Shot down over Berlin in September 1943 and crashed into a lake opposite Zahrensdorf. Wreckage from this aircraft was recovered and is now on display at the Deutsche Technikmuseum, Berlin.
Substantial wrecks
  • Lancaster B I DV202 Served with 44 Squadron as KM-Z. Shot down in August 1943 on a raid against Peenemünde and crashed in a small lake in the target area. The wreckage remains undisturbed and visible just short of the threshold of Peenemünde Airport. Parts, including an engine, were recovered and are on display at the Peenemünde Museum.

New Zealand[edit]

NX665 in June 2012
On display
  • Lancaster B VII NX665, preserved at the Museum of Transport and Technology (aka MOTAT) in Auckland. This aircraft served with the Aeronavale as WU-13 from 1952 until the 1960s, when it was presented to the museum. The airframe originally lacked the mid-upper turret, having been built with the mountings for a Martin 250CE mid-upper gun turret. An earlier Frazer Nash FN50 turret was retrofitted in the late 1980s which required modifications to the aircraft's structure, as the turret mounts had to be moved rearwards. The aircraft is equipped with H2S radar.

Sweden[edit]

Substantial wrecks
  • Lancaster B III NF920 "Easy Elsie". This aircraft served with 617 Squadron as KC-E ( KC replacing the better known AJ code of Operation Chastise). It was damaged by flak attacking the German battleship Tirpitz in October 1944 and was forced to make an emergency landing near Porjus in Norrbottens län, in the north of Sweden. The crew unsuccessfully attempted to burn the aircraft; the wreckage still lies in situ.[13]

United Kingdom[edit]

Lancaster B I PA474 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, 2005
Airworthy
On display
Lancaster B I R5868 "S-Sugar", RAF Museum 2003
  • Lancaster B I R5868 "S-Sugar" is the oldest surviving Lancaster. It was delivered to the RAF in June 1942 and flew for the remainder of the war. It originally as "Q-Queenie" with No. 83 Squadron RAF from RAF Scampton and then as "S-Sugar" with No. 463 and No. 467 RAAF Squadrons from RAF Waddington. This aircraft was the first RAF heavy bomber to complete 100 operations (going on to fly 137 sorties[15]). It is now on display at the RAF Museum, Hendon in 467 Sqn markings.[16] Its final operations were in May 1945, when it was used to ferry liberated Allied prisoners of war back to the United Kingdom. Although surplus to requirements, the decision to preserve it was made in June 1945, due to the exceptional number of operations it had flown, and it was transferred to the RAF's Air Historical Branch; it was moved to the RAF Museum in 1972.[17]
  • Lancaster B X KB889 is Canadian built and was delivered to Britain in March 1945 and returned to Canada that June without seeing any service, this aircraft was later converted for Maritime Reconnaissance use. Struck off charge by the RCAF in 1965, the aircraft was displayed in Ontario before being sold to prolific warbird collector Doug Arnold in the UK in 1984. The aircraft was put on the UK register as G-LANC, but was never flown. Sold in 1986 to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, the aircraft was restored over eight years to static condition, and has been on display since 1994 as NA-I.[18]
Lancaster NX611 Just Jane during taxi run in April 2008
  • Lancaster B VII NX611 "Just Jane" was one of the last wartime aircraft to come out of the Austin Aero factory at Cofton Hackett and stored by the RAF 1945-1952. Served with the Aeronavale as WU-15 from June 1952 until the 1960s, when it was flown back to Britain. At one stage the aircraft was kept at Blackpool, and following the removal of R5868, served as gate guardian at RAF Scampton. NX611 now resides at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at the former RAF East Kirkby.[19] This Lancaster is not currently airworthy, but undertakes regular taxi runs at high speed along a length of the wartime runway. A project is currently underway to restore the aircraft to airworthy condition. Many spares have been acquired and overhauled to airworthy standards to allow the project to progress faster once the aircraft is dismantled.
Substantial Wrecks
  • Lancaster B III PD259 Served with No. 463 Sqn as JO-G. Crashed into a mountain near Kingussie, Scotland in August 1944. Wreckage remained in situ in the Grampian Mountains until 2009 when damage by vandals and souvenir hunters prompted a recovery. Wreckage currently viewable in the RAF Waddington Heritage museum (view by appointment).

United States[edit]

  • Lancaster B I TW911 (Forward fuselage only) Used as a testbed aircraft from 1946 until was broken up in 1954, TW911's forward fuselage was retained and fitted to the rear fuselage and wings of Avro Lincoln RF342. This hybrid remained airworthy and in experimental use up until 1962. It was later housed at Bournemouth Historic Aircraft Museum (UK) for another 25 years before being dismantled and placed in storage. The Lancaster parts of the hybrid were then purchased by the Flying Heritage Collection of Everett, Washington. The remaining fuselage section was fully restored and is on display there today.
Stored or under restoration
  • Lancaster B X KB976 is Canadian built and was delivered to Britain in May 1945 but saw no action. Returned to Canada in June 1945, the aircraft was converted to Mk.10 (AR) specification, being struck off charge in 1964. Lancaster KB976 made the last official flight as an RCAF aircraft on 4 July 1964[20] at the Calgary International Air Show with F/L Lynn Garrison, as captain, and F/L Ralph Langemann as co-pilot. It is worth noting that neither Garrison nor Langemann had ever flown a Lancaster before, and Garrison had broken his ankle the night before this flight. Their historic flight was authorized personally by the then Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer, who flew to Calgary for the celebration. Garrison will be remembered for his oft-repeated comment, "If it has fuel and noise, I can fly it." Lynn Garrison then purchased KB976 from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation as an addition to his historic collection. He created the Air Museum of Canada in April 1964. Sold in 1974 to the Strathallan Collection in Scotland, KB976 was flown across the Atlantic and then statically displayed until 1987. Bought by collector Charles Church, the aircraft was moved to Woodford Aerodrome for restoration to airworthy condition, where the fuselage centre section was damaged in a hangar collapse. Another Canadian Lancaster, KB994, that had survived only as a fuselage, was sourced to replace the irreparably damaged parts of KB976. Sadly, Charles Church died in a flying accident soon after and the rebuild was abandoned. The aircraft and its replacement parts were later sold to Doug Arnold, before finally being bought by Kermit Weeks in 1992. KB976 has since been stored at his Fantasy of Flight museum in Florida awaiting restoration. The rear fuselage and rear gunner's position was salvaged from the wrecked original fuselage and is on display at the AeroVenture Museum in Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK. The original extended nose of KB976 has been built backwards into an authentic fuselage and cockpit by Jeremy Hall and is on display at Brookland's Museum in Weybridge, UK. The residue of parts from KB994 were stored in the UK before being sold to the Australian National Aviation Museum to assist in the restoration of Avro Lincoln RF342.[21]

Notes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Benedetto, Fernando. Avro Lancaster, Lancastrian & Lincoln – Serie Fuerza Aerea Nº 17. Argentina: Fuerzas Aeronavales, 2010. ISBN 978-987-1682-00-3.
  • Ellis, Ken (2008). Wrecks and Relics. Manchester, UK: Crecy Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85979-134-2. 
  • Goulding, Brian, Mike Garbett and Sqn/Ldr. John Partridge. Story of a Lanc (NX611). Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, 1974 (reprinted at least two times till 1991).
  • Page, Bette. Mynarski's Lanc: The Story of Two Famous Canadian Lancaster Bombers KB726 & FM213. Erin, Ontario, Canada: Boston Mills Press, 1989. ISBN 1-55046-006-4.
  • Walton, Jenny. Just Jane: Two Farmers & a Lancaster. Leeds, UK: Propagator Press, 2004. ISBN 1-86029-800-1.
  • Winchester, Jim. "Avro Lancaster". Aircraft of World War II: The Aviation Factfile. Kent, UK: Grange Books plc, 2004. ISBN 1-84013-639-1.

External links[edit]